Friday, March 26, 2010

Sherri Hill Photo Shoot

~MARCH 8-10~
What's up guys!!  Ok, so immediately after my trip to LA, I literally jetted across the country to NYC for round two!  I was incredibly blessed to be hired as a model for the world famous designer, Sherri Hill.  

BIO: Sherri Hill is a distinguished and well-known designer of prom and pageant evening wear. Her unparalleled design achievements in the pageant industry include many recent winners and contestants. Eight of the Top Ten Miss USA 2009 finishers were wearing a Sherri Hill gown including the winner, Kristen Dalton. Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith, Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner, Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson and Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry were all crowned in Sherri Hill gowns. MTV Video Jockey and Total Request Live host Susie Castillo also won the Miss USA crown wearing a Sherri Hill designed evening gown. Sherri Hill designs can be found on the red carpet as well.  

I can't tell you how blessed I felt to be able to model for someone so influential within the pageant world.  Thank you, Sherri, for the opportunity!!! Your designs are incredible and it was my honor to be dressed by you.

Disclaimer #1: The pictures you see within this blog post are NOT from the Sherri Hill photo shoot. YES, they are Sherri Hill dresses, and YES they were shot by Fadil Berisha, but they are NOT the photos from the catalogue/web shoot. (Just needed to clarify that ;) )
Disclaimer #2: These pictures have NOT been edited by Fadil's studio, so I apologize for the random backgrounds/clamps haha...

 Fadil Berisha was the official photographer for the Sherri Hill shoot.  He did a phenomenal job, as always.  Fadil never does anything short of amazing.  Within the pageant world, Berisha is considered a "god" of photography. ;)

(He will also be shooting our official photos at Miss USA. --This is a photo that every contestant looks forward to...) 

BIO: Albanian born photographer, Fadil Berisha, has been living and working out of New York City for the more than 22 years. As a fashion photographer with extensive experience, he has worked with Avon, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom's and others for their catalogues.  His editorial work has appeared nationally and internationally in Elle, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, People Magazine, YM and more.  Mr. Berisha has had the pleasure of working with several celebrities. To name a few...Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, Former President Bill Clinton, and Snoop Dog.  He also works  with the Miss Universe Organiation as offical photographer, shooting Miss Teen, Miss USA, and Miss Universe.  Lastly, Fadil has made numerous television network appearances on MTV, E, ABC, NBC, the WB, and CBS. (He is also now the official photographer for Rolex.)

Another exciting experience in New York City was working with the talented, Tony Dovolani. It was such an honor to be able to shoot with him!!  Anytime I would do something funny, Tony would break out in song... "OOOOOOOOOO-KLAHOMA." lol

If you are not familiar with Dovolani, Tony played a Hispanic heartthrob in Jennifer Lopez's 2004 romantic comedy, "Shall We Dance?", but he is best known for being a dance instructor on the hit show, "Dancing with the Stars."  During the seasons, Dovolani has been paired with stunning wrestling sexpot, Stacy Keibler, Sara Evans, famous country singer, and talk-show host, Leeza Gibbons.  Tony also earned an Emmy for
best choreography. 

This season, Tony was paired with Kate Gosselin.  The two made the cover of PEOPLE Magazine the week I worked with Tony! I remember shooting with him, heading to the airport afterward, and seeing his face plastered on the cover of the magazine, located on EVERY stand! haha...It was very cool. Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to the photos. We got to do a lot of fun dance poses. :)

My weekend in NYC was a lot of fun, and I got to meet many wonderful people in the process. I even got to take a few evenings off to see my friends.  One night, I went to dinner with a friend at John's. ( John's Pizza -- One of my favorite restaurants in NYC) ...Well, to make a long story short... I ordered a meatball sub and when the waiter brought it to our table, he accidentally knocked it into my lap!!!!!! bahahaha.... Bless his sweet heart. He was completely mortified. I assured him that it was quite alright and that accidents happen, but I don't think he was able to forgive himself. The poor soul had another waiter serve our table the rest of the night because he was so embarrassed. haha... 

Also to make note,
Joining me at the photoshoot....
Nicole Johnson, Miss California USA 2010 (my roommate while in NYC) and Audrey Moore, Miss Alabama USA 2010. 
Here is a group shot with Tony after we wrapped up a long day of shooting.
Also modeling with us was Alyssa Campanella, Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2008.  
And while at the studio, I had the pleasure of  meeting Julie Citro, Miss Delaware USA 2010 as well, who was visiting in NYC. 
The lovely ladies!!! (I broke pageant rule #1 in this photo - Always be wearing your heels haha ;) )

Alrighty, that's all folks!!
Over and out,
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

*Fearlessly Me*

My second trip to Kansas City was a great one because I got to spend the whole weekend with my girls Ashley and Bethany!! (Unfortunately, Belinda and Adrielle couldn't make it :( )
Also to join us was Daryl Woods.  Daryl  is the CEO and Certified Life Coach of Fearlessly Me!, LLC in Nashville, TN.  Fearlessly Me! works to unlock your ability to find the answers within yourself, discovering your purpose and moving you toward your results. Daryl worked with us as a group, helping us to identify and resolve roadblocks, ask powerful questions, increase our interview skills, and perfect our walks. 
 (((We also had the opportunity to meet with Christina Smith while in Kansas City.  She is an official sponsor for Vanbros and offers fabulous extensions to all five states.  I also believe she is the official extensions sponor for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders!)))
I can speak for Ashley and Bethany as well when I say that we all LOVED Daryl.  He is a terrific guy and had some wonderful insight, helping us to learn and grow as young women. (And he has the most gorgeous ice blue eyes as seen in his picture above!!)
(P.S. ~ I also had the pleasure of working with Daryl Woods as Miss Oklahoma Teen USA in 2006.)
When he first arrived, we did a unique exercise to "break the ice."  Daryl asked each of us to draw on a piece of paper a tattoo we might get if we were considering one, and voice where on our bodies we would get it.  Woods stated that because tattoo's are often very personal, meaningful, and purpose driven that the exercise would help him discover and better understand who each of us were as individuals.  I cannot tell you how dissimilar all three of our minds worked! One of us chose a comedic route, another a heartfelt route, and again another chose a more daring route! haha...
So we'll play a little matching game.... Who do you think drew what tattoo????
A. Ashley (Missouri) 
B. Bethany (Kansas)
C. Morgan (Oklahoma)
1. Lips to jokingly be able to say "kiss my rear"; A "Have a nice Day" tattoo with a smiley face; Or initials in beautiful lettering (On the booty)
2. A word that inspires, like "love"; anything to signify living to the fullest/defeating adversity/ or a reminder of how short life is and to take nothing for granted. (Anywhere hidden)
3. Giant Angel wings. (Across the back)
:) :) :) 
(Disclaimer: Now if anyone is quick to judge, let's keep in mind that this was more for "fun" and in a fantasy setting.  Neither Ashley, Bethany, nor I have any tattoos...)
Clearly from this experiment, we are three very different people, but the differences between us is what I love most about my sisters. :) We are all so different and diverse, yet very much alike... all at the same time!  ...Yes, we are all incredibly unique in our hobbies, likes, and dislikes, but when it all comes down to it-- we each embody an empowered woman, striving to pursue her dreams, full of ambition, discipline, and tenacity.  We are each distinct, exceptional, and one of a kind. 
These traits are what make EVERY young woman competing in the Miss USA pageant special.  The ambition within all 51 contestants is what links us together.  None of us would be here today if we did not work hard to get here. Each contestant has the drive to accomplish her goals and to dream big...
With that said, I'm wishing the absolute best to every young lady competing within the Miss USA 2010 Pageant. Regardless of your placement, as I walk in your shoes in this very moment, I am overwhelmingly proud of you and I wish you nothing but the best of success not only in this pageant, but in life.
On a side note, MY COWBOYS beat the #1 team in the BIG 12, the JAYHAWKS, while I was in Kansas City!!!  I was soooo proud of those boys for pulling the upset!  Unfortunately for me, I was not at home in Stillwater to see the game, but I did get to tease my directors, John, Jason, and Jen afterward, who are HUGE KU Basketball fans! haha ;) Love you guys!!!
Oklahoma State, Cowboys (My University!!! GO POKES!!!!) and the University of Kansas, Jay Hawks!
Sadly, during the NCAA tournament both the Cowboys and the Jay Hawks fell short of the Sweet Sixteen.  Duke ended up winning the National Championship last weekend. (Truthfully, I was pulling for the underdog, Butler! Who doesn't love a Cinderella story?) 
I learned during March Madness, that they were also holding a "Mascot Madness."  And now that March Madness has their champion, they have also chosen the #1 Mascot in the Nation!  The Doug Gottlieb Show delivered the opportunity to vote for your favorite college and pro mascots and the Nation's voice was heard.  After weeks of voting, PISTOL PETE FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY took home the "CROWN" of the BEST MASCOT of all. Amazing!!! (Benny the Bull, from the Chicago Bulls came in second place) (
That's my summary of the Vanbros Bootcamp #2.
Up next, I'll be blogging about NYC Trip #2.
With love,
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Houston, prepare for magic"

-FEBRUARY 19-21-

At the end of February, I headed out to Houston for a photo shoot with the fantastically talented, Benjamin Urcuyo. Ben was the official photographer for Miss Arizona USA and Miss Utah USA pageants in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He now is a free lance photographer all over the nation.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working with Ben and getting to know him as an artist. I have always been a very artistic person myself. --I love to write, to sing, and to paint. I just love creating things in general! Because of this, I feel Ben and I hit it off even more!!!

Benizo is not just a talented photographer, but he is also an incredible human being. It was a true pleasure having the opportunity to be shot by Ben, but I consider it an even greater pleasure to now call him a friend.

((Ben: ~ Next time we are together, we're going to find a Border's Book store, have some coffee, and chat about collectively writing a screen play. How does that sound!? :) ))

Ben is a very unique photographer because he has an edgy eye and he takes creative risks. Many photographers keep their photos safe, but Ben is not afraid to think outside of the box. I respect this trait in Benizo because I truly feel that greatness cannot be achieved without taking those risks. We took some risks with my photos, and the pictures turned out like nothing I've ever had before.
Whether you are looking for a pageant shot, a glamour shot, a fashion shot or fine art, to Benizo the intention is all the same… beauty is to be discovered, beauty is to be expressed. Ben will not only make you feel comfortable, but he will also make you feel beautiful.

I encourage all of you gorgeous young woman out there to book a shoot with Ben. It will be nothing short of incredible! You will not only walk out of the Benizo photo session with great photos, but a great friend too.  Check out his website at ;)

I also had the privilege to work with Albert Luiz from "An Albert Luiz Salon and Spa." (Top 5 Salon & Spa in Houston and the Official Salon & Day Spa of Miss Texas USA and Miss Texas Teen USA)
Brief Bio: Albert Luiz has been a licensed cosmetologist since 1986. Working on beautiful women is nothing new to Albert Luiz. He earned the position of Official Stylist to Miss USA from 1994-96. Participating in such pageants as Miss Houston USA, Miss Texas USA and Miss USA, Albert Luiz has become a most sought-after stylist. Albert's edge is his experierence in consulting, training, and preparing pageant contestants on the right cut, color and style to improve their odds of winning a title...His clients entrust him with their locks and he makes them all look their very best. Albert has created styles for celebrities such as Daisy Fuentes, Brooke Burke, Kasy Kasem and Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen. (One my my favorite Miss Universe's ever!!!)

When I arrived at the salon to meet him, we realized that he was the one who did my hair at MISS TEEN USA in 2006. How crazy is that?! Needless to say, it was great to reunite! Even more exciting, he will be an official hair dresser for MISS USA 2010!!! I cannot wait to work with him again.
(Miss Teen USA 2006 Hair by Albert Featured to the left)

To brag on Albert a little bit more, he was the winner of the 2007 U.S.A. "Creative Colorist Challenge", and a Finalist in 2008. Also, the Houston Business Journal in 2008 named his salon within the "Top 5 Salon & Day Spas".

Albert and his team continue to succeed and grow as a business. The salon offers everything from hair design, to facialists, to nail technicians, to spa treatments.  Albert Luiz also has opened a boutique, and tanning will soon be added to the mix.  (On a side note: I had my nails done at the salon and spa before the shoot, and they completely exceeded my expectations. It was honestly the best nail job I've ever had. They looked so beautiful and natural.)

If you live in the Houston area, I urge you to try out "An Alert Luiz Salon and Spa."
Locations: 3425 Highway 6 / Suite 110 / Sugar Land, TX 77478
2178 Texas Drive / Sugar Land, TX 77479
Phone: 281-565-2213 / Fax: 281-565-2412 / Email: info@aalss.comAlbert Luiz

I also had the honor of having my makeup done by the incredible Amin Kabani.  He is an employer of "An Albert Luiz Salon & Spa," as well as "Wardrobe the Boutique." He did a BEAUTIFUL job as you can see in my pictures!! Thanks Amin!!

Along with my team of stylists, was the amazing, Ephraim Zamzow-Danforth. He helped us pick out the killer outfits and accessories inside "Wardrobe the Boutique." The boutique offers everything from full Service Bridal , Gala, and Pageant Collection, along with all types of edgy clothing pieces, shoes, and jewlery. (Ephraim is the store director of the boutique located in sugarland, TX

All in all, I was very BLESSED to work with such a great team of experts! These guys really are amazing, and I'm not just saying that. Thank you Ben, Albert, Amin, and Ephraim for making my trip so memorable. Thank you for the laughs and all of the good times you contributed to! I left with some authentically new friends within each of you!! I wish nothing but the best of success to you all. all of our surprise, we didn't finish shooting until 12:30 a.m.!!!! The entire team was so exhausted. Afterward, my mom and I drove around in search for some food and eventually found an IHOP. I ordered chocolate chip pancakes and french toast!! haha (Why not have both?! - If you read my blog, you can see a reoccurring theme... I LOOOOVE good food ;) )


To conclude my blog, I also had te opportunity to briefly meet  two other great people.  I spent an hour with Nicole O'Brian, Miss Texas Teen USA 2000, and Miss Texas USA 2003.  In 2004, she competed on The Amazing Race 5 with her then-boyfriend Brandon, and today O'Brian is a pageant consultant.
(Bee Your Best, Inc. Pageant Training/Coaching Nicole O'Brian ~281-910-9188)

I also spent an hour with Arnold Vasquez, founder of Soldiers of Fitness.  He was the official trainer for Miss Texas USA 2008, Crystle Stewart, who went on to win Miss USA.  Arnold specializes in showing his girls exercises they can do at home or in their hotel rooms.  If you're interested in training with Vasquez, call him at (713) 302-8638.

(I also got to meet Kelli Harral, Miss Texas Teen USA 2009. She is a total doll!!)

Thank you everyone for a very successful trip to Houston!

God bless,

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


~MARCH 4-8~

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting some friends in LA while I was on business.  Let me tell you a little bit about that! 

What I love about LA is that it is made up of dozens of communities. -There is no one single experience that can sum up the life and the heartbeat of this city.  But what can be noticed about Los Angeles by both tourists and locals alike is the vibrant and unique neighborhoods, and the extreme diversity that sets it apart from any other city.  

I LOVE the diversity of LA and I got to experience that first-hand.  Since I was in LA during th Oscars, every hotel in the area was about 600 dollars a night.  The only place offering a good deal was in "Chinatown."  While in Chinatown, I literally felt like I was in another country. -All of the billboards, bus stops, benches, and local stores were ALL in Chinese.  (I logged into the hotel computer and even THAT was in Chinese haha...)

So yes, while when the words "Los Angeles" first reach our ears, we instantly think of "eternal sunshine," "beaches," and "Hollywood glitz" ....don't forget that LA is also home to many small communities as well, with their own distinct cultural personalities.  In LA, there is a place for everyone. 

Anyway, immediately after I landed, we checked out the Farmer's Market for dinner, otherwise known as "The Grove." 

I had never seen anything like it. The Grove offers EVERY single type of food you can possibly imagine... and it's ALL in one place.  (Naturally, I was in heaven)  After much deliberation, we finally chose to eat at this Brazilian Steakhouse/ outdoor, open buffet type place.  (...they definitely don't have those in Oklahoma) 

And wouldn't you know it, Crystal Bowersox from American Idol had the same idea.  While I was eating, I had the pleasure of speaking with her.  She is AWESOME and I am totally pulling for her. She said she'll be cheering for me at Miss USA! ;)... We also exchanged favors: I vote for her, and she votes for me. haha ;) (The Photogenic Award that will be on NBC in May)

The incredibly talented, Crystal Bowersox.

Also at the Grove, was Fo Porter, from America's Next Top Model Cycle 12.
It was ironic seeing her because I was recently contacted by the ANTM casting team asking me to come in for a private casting in Dallas.  (I appreciate them allowing me to avoid those crazy lines, haha)

I also ran into my friend, Yuri, while in LA, who I had the pleasure of shooting with in New York City several weeks ago.  He just landed the Christian Audigier campaign, and had billboards  already up while I was in town. What a stud.

Also to make note, while I was shopping with friends, I ran into Jaimee Grubbs, former mistress of Tiger Woods.  (She was shoe shopping at Rock & Republic. haha...)

...........Moving right along, and away from the celebs...Behn and I tore down the city in pursuit of the most kickin' wardrobe EVER for Miss USA and the "City of Angels" did NOT dissapoint. ;)
We drove all throughout Ritzy West Hollywood, past the Sunset Strip and the Santa Monica Pier, all throughout the upscale Melrose Avenue Shopping District, Beverly Hills and of course, Rodeo Drive.

Funny story:  My dad shoots me a text during our shopping excursion and types, "Ummm the credit card company called.  They were concerned about a possible 'fraud' in Beverly Hills." ...hahaha....

Needless to say, even though I had to drop some major cash, I was able to purchase several INCREDIBLE statement pieces and I'm really looking forward to showing them off in Vegas soon. ;)

(On another comical note:  One store clerk thought I looked like "Heidi Montag" post-surgery???? haha...I decided to just go ahead and take that as a "twisted compliment" -The girl had to have 12+ Plastic surgeries to look similar to what I look like naturally. ;) lol... Because "THIS" nose, lips, cheek bones, teeth and chin are from the good Lord above haha....and mom and dad, of course.)

MORE BIG NEWS: I met with Brett Tomberlin, producer with Imagination Design Works.  IDW Productions is an independent entertainment Production Company that creates feature length motion pictures, television programming, stage productions and website properties.

In June, I will be modeling for a t-shirt line coming out to promote an upcoming movie, "Winchester."  (Based off of the haunted, Winchester Mansion in San Jose, Cali ~ IDW is also offering me the opportunity to audition for the film.

To date, Winchester is currently in development and is being penned by the writers of Haunting in Connecticut, Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe. IDW will produce the film in association with Nine Entertainment and Haunting in Connecticut producer, Andy Trapani.

Along with Winchester, I've been given the opportunity to audition for Pointe Miguel.  Pointe Miguel is also in development at this time and is projected to enter into production in Fall. Andrew Golov, former executive at Spelling Television and Artisan Entertainment will be heading this upcoming soccer thriller. During Andrew's tenure at the studios he oversaw such properties as "Backdraft," "Far and Away," "Thinner," "The Punisher," and "The Blair Witch Project."

Last of my celebrity "run-ins," ....As I was leaving LA and preparing to board for NYC, I met the engaging, Al Roker.  I complimented Al on what a fantastic job he did putting together the Miss USA documentary featured on E!  He gratefully accepted my compliments.  Afterward, we talked about my Miss USA preparations. 

Aside from the "celebs," the best part of the trip was spending time with my great friend, Behn, and shopping until we dropped. (Literally! - We forgot where we parked and walked around for nearly an hour looking for our car... haha) ...I also had the pleasure of meeting his pride and joy, "Glitz," the shi tzu.

Last of the adventures worth mentioning is of course related to food. ;) And anyone who KNOWS me, KNOWS that I'm not one of those "salad eating" chicks. haha...

Quick Fixes: While in a hurry one day, we drove through Mcdonald's for lunch where they hung a giant sign stating, "99 BILLION SERVED..." (Dang that's a lot of people who like big macs... haha....) And in need of a midnight snack, I also had to try the famous, "Del Taco" before I left town.  I must tell you, I have never in my life seen a fast food restaurant that only serves one option...haha...TACOS!!! ( A #1-#10 were all.... tacos, LOL)

Restaurants of Choice: One night we hit up "Baby Blues BBQ", where I chowed down on some catfish, fries, and mac n cheese. haha... (The breakfast of champions...) Another night we enjoyed "Mel's Diner", one of the oldest in LA, where I got to indulge in a burger, fries, and chocolate milkshake. (Chocolate is my weakness!!)


My TOP 5 "Craziest Things about LA":
1.) Seeing a celebrity at least once a day is quite ordinary. 
2.)  THE TRAFFIC. Omyword. A 10 minute drive in OKC is a 40 minute bumper to bumper in LA.
3.)  There's a fast food restaurant that only offers one option...haha... TACOS!! (Although, those were some dang good tacos.)
4.)  Medical Marijuana is advertised in neon lights inside store windows. haha ( I will never forget driving through town at night and seeing a giant neon green Marijuana LEAF in the window! haha... "Toto, we're not in Oklahoma anymore" ;) )
5.) At the entrance of almost every parking lot, EVEN THE GROCERY STORE, you have to take a ticket and get it validated. Amazing!

That's all folks!

Hope everyone has a blessed day.

Peace & Love,
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